Monday Book Review: Two for One Chicken cookbooks from Parragon


Parragon Publishing put out two different small hardcover Chicken Cookbooks, which I happened to purchase at bargain/clearance sales (at different times during the year). I thought I had purchased a chicken only cookbook before, but could not remember what the book cover was or specific recipes.  Now I have two cookbooks I can draw from when I’m at a standstill on what to do with yet another couple chicken thighs or breasts. Here’s a note I’ll repeat, as I’ve said before in the forward to my cookbook, “Simple, Healthy, Fresh 1.0”: recipes are like blueprints–you can follow them directly the first time or make any changes or substitutions to make the recipe your own.

 

Cookshelf Chicken by Parragon Publishing, courtesy of www.Amazon.com.

From the back of the book:

Chicken: An ultimate collection of step-by-step recipes

Chicken is one of the most versatile meats and also one of the healthiest, making it a popular choice for today’s cook. This fascinating book contains 120 recipes from around the world, all especially designed for the home cook. Whether you are on a diet, entertaining guests, or just want to rustle something up in a hurry, there is something in this book to suit all palates and occasions.

My Take:

Cookshelf Chicken is a typical little cookbook by Parragon publishing. Rush to gather recipes, write them up and get them on the shelf.  The recipes themselves aren’t difficult and the ingredients are easy to find (or substitutions) at any grocery store. Having said that, view recipes as a blueprint: you are free to follow them or make any substitutions as you please, making it your own. Use some common sense when reading ingredients or directions. If you see an error, adjust your recipe to what you have used before, such as one recipe calls for 32 shallots, another calls for 14.  Would you use 32 shallots? Of course not. I would use 2 or 3 or substitute 1/4 sweet yellow onion. Use common sense.

There are some out-of-the-box thinking with some of the recipes, that I would love to try!  Such as Dickensian Chicken Broth, Elizabethan Chicken and Lady Jayne Chicken.  Of course you wouldn’t make each recipe every day. These would be for special occasions or when you want to impress guests. Sometimes we get in a rut with our chicken meals, fried, baked, braised, steamed and so on.

I would recommend Cookshelf chicken with a nod to commonsense, giving it 3 1/2 to 4 stars.

Chicken: A Collection of Over 100 Essential Recipes

Chicken: A Collection of Over 100 Essential Recipes courtesy of www.barnesandnoble.com.

Click more for the review:

From the back cover:

Overview

Chicken is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and minerals, and is naturally low in fat, making it the dream food for those who need to keep their weight or cholesterol levels in check. And it’s not all about nutrition—there are so many wonderful ways to cook chicken that you could serve this versatile ingredient every day of the week and still not run out of ideas! This book has a selection of the best recipes from around the world.
My Take.
What drew me to the book was the bright grill and the perfectly roasted chicken  on the soft, padded cover. Whomever thought of that at Parragon was a genius! They certainly got my few dollars, which I found in the bargain/clearance section at the bookstore.
What Parragon offers here is another chicken cookbook, but ‘not yet another chicken cookbook’.  There is a mix of Asian, American, European, Spanish and so on, recipes. There will never be another night where you’re staring at a chicken wondering what to do with it. Even if you don’t follow the recipes directly, verbatim, you’ll find enough changes to make a new dish to call your own.
Speaking of, when reading a recipe for the first time, use some common sense if you see an inordinate amount of some ingredient or a process in the steps that don’t make sense.  If the recipe calls for 32 garlic cloves or 14 shallots, use 2-3 cloves and 1 shallot. Food is expensive these days so be judicious.  IF there is an Asian recipe that calls for some expensive or hard-to-find special noodle, like glass noodles, soy noodles and so on, substitute what you have or what is available in your grocery store.  Use ramen noodles nest or angel hair pasta.
I would heartily recommend Parragon’s Chicken cookbook with 4 stars.

 

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